House & Home

Keeping Your Neighborhood in Demand: 4 Things Your HOA and CDD Can Do for You

Buying a home isn’t just about picking out the perfect floorplan. Many couples are willing to sacrifice their ideal vision for a house if they prefer a specific neighborhood. After all, a building is only part of the living situation. The people around and the environment of the community are essential too. That’s why your Home Association (HOA) and the Community Development Committee (CDD) are both important in improving your place’s demand. The organizations should consider the following four things because these decisions do matter.

1. Keep Lakes in Good Condition

The general appearance should be clean-cut and fresh. People want green foliage that is well-kept and tended. A major focal point in this category is any freshwater. Lakes should be beautiful, free of algae. To help with this, a water management company could tend to the conditions, and the groups could hire fish stocking services Florida to use natural cleaning methods.

2. Review Amenity Needs Yearly

When builders create newer subdivisions, they often boost amenity options. Pools might be bigger than the other communities. Novel concepts such as kayak spots or walking paths might be created. These additional allow for the builders to promote the changes and draw in potential customers. 

Older communities, therefore, should question how to enhance their amenities or maintain conditions. During HOA and CDD meetings, evaluate reserve budgets. Seek out ideas from residents about what type of improvements they would like.

3. Assess Residential Property

The HOA might work with a management company. These professionals are trained to know the community rules and enforce them. Workers drive around to ensure that homes are kept in proper states. If not, notices are sent to owners indicating what should be fixed.

These efforts provide opportunities for the neighborhood to look its best.

4. Encourage Social Activities

Many people like to engage in social activities, and an HOA staff could plan celebrations that bring the community together. Food truck evenings, pool celebrations and holiday parties entertain and get others to have fun. This connection is something realtors may sell to their clients, boosting interest in the area. Encourage boards to develop a reputation for caring for residents and giving them a chance to interact and make memories.

Where you live is a vital component of how well your home is likely to sell in the future. Work with HOA and CDD committees to keep the area looking good. Aesthetics and enjoyment are important.

5 Ways You Can Save Energy and Lower Your Utility Bill

Do you ever look at your utility bill at the end of the month and wonder how it possibly got so high? You’re not alone. Many homeowners are unaware of minor problems that end up costing them big bucks in the long run. These five tips will make sure that you save energy and protect your wallet.

1. Check Your Doors and Windows

Leaky doors and windows leave buildings prone to drafts, insect infestation, and water damage. To protect your home from expensive temperature fluctuations and deterioration, invest in weather seal technology. These relatively inexpensive solutions will save you money on heating and cooling costs.

2. Beware “Vampire” Electronics

Unfortunately, flicking the “off” switch doesn’t always mean that your devices and appliances are entirely turned off.  Electronics that remained plugged into wall outlets while turned off still receive standby energy, which increases your household energy consumption and inflates your utility bill. A simple way to combat this is being conscientious about your technology usage. When you are done using the toaster and coffeemaker, unplug them. Disconnect cell phones and computers when they are fully charged. Shut off the television and turn off the lights before you leave the house. Sustainability benefits both the environment and your wallet.

3. Invest in Energy Efficient Lightbulbs

It is time to say goodbye to incandescent lightbulbs. Up to 90% of the energy used by traditional lightbulbs is given off as heat rather than actual light. To combat that waste, opt for light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Both cost slightly more than incandescent lightbulbs upfront, but they use much less energy and last significantly longer, so you will be saving money in the long term.

4. Change Your Filters

If you have a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit, you need to clean and change your filters on a regular basis. Dirty filters obstruct airflow and force your HVAC unit to consume more energy to circulate air.  Additionally, failing to maintain your filters can lead to dust and grime build-up, which will result in spendy repair fees in the future. 

5. Adjust Your Thermostat

Everyone likes to exist in their preferred temperature zone, but that can cost a pretty penny. If possible, avoid cranking your thermostat up and down in the winter and summer months. Instead, regulate your temperature with open, breezy windows—or alternatively, cozy blankets and fuzzy socks.  Be smart about when you heat and cool your house, too.  When you leave for work or go to sleep, turn your thermostat down.

Electricity is a precious—and, at times, expensive—resource.  Make sure to consume energy wisely by incorporating these five eco-friendly solutions and practices into your home.

3 Benefits of Inspecting Your Oil Tank

Oil tanks can have a long lifespan, but only if they are well taken care of. Tanks should be periodically checked and maintained. If not, they may need to be abandoned. There are oil tank abandonment services available, such as oil tank abandonment Westchester County NY. Take a look at this list of three benefits associated with inspecting an oil tank.

1. Prevent Oil Leaks

Your oil tank may become damaged, which can cause oil leaks. Such damage may stem from heavy precipitation, temperature fluctuations, and extreme vegetation. These factors may compromise the material your tank is made of, whether that be steel, plastic, or a combination of both. They may also affect your tank’s level of protection. Some tanks only have one layer of protection while others have multiple. Layers can weaken over time, causing a tank to be more susceptible to leaks. Hiring a professional to inspect your tank can reduce its chance of experiencing leaks.

2. Avoid Oil Spills

Oil spills can occur in various situations. If the ground underneath where your oil tank is placed becomes disturbed or erodes away, your tank may collapse and spill oil. Your tank may also fall if its legs experience a great deal of rust or breakage and are unable to support your tank’s main body. Some people have even witnessed oil spills because the liquids in their tanks caused corrosion and dissolved their tanks’ shells, leaving holes and openings from which oil escaped. Taking all this into consideration, it is vital that you seek an expert who can help you maintain the condition of your tank and tackle any and all problems that could result in spills.

3. Heat Your Home

A poorly maintained tank will not be able to heat your home properly. This is because it will likely have defects that hinder it from transferring the necessary amount of oil to your furnace. Maybe its vent pipe, the part that provides the ventilation required to move fuel smoothly through an oil tank system, is damaged or clogged. It could be that its oil gauge is broken, making it hard for you to detect whether it is empty and needs refilling. By having a professional look at your tank on a regular basis, you can ensure that it will not be riddled with the issues that would impede its ability to heat your home.

Take good care of your oil tank. Doing so will guarantee your safety and comfort.

Tips and Tricks for Home Landscaping

When the sun starts poking out to signal summertime, you might feel the familiar itch to get outside and make your yard look like new. Some people opt to hire landscapers or professional yard services, but many others like to get their hands dirty and beautify their lawn themselves. No matter which one you are, it can be helpful to know some tricks of the trade before diving into a landscaping project to ensure the best results with the least amount of hassle.

Base Layers

Whether you’re clearing weeds from your decorative fences and gates or planting new flowers in your garden, you’ll likely end up needing one of two things: a tarp or landscaping fabric. A tarp can come in handy when moving large debris or lots of leaves and brush. Use it kind of like a catch all area and then you can simply drag it or carry it to your dump truck. It’s also great to put down before setting up a pile of dirt you need to spread because it keeps other areas of the yard clean while you work.

Landscaping fabric is another helpful tool typically used to keep weeds from poking up unchecked in your garden. Another, possibly more efficient use, of this tool is to line gravel or stone walkways and areas. Having this fabric under your stones can prevent them from sinking into the ground and you having to replace them or build up the area year after year. So if you have to choose, opt for fabric under your rocks instead of your flowers.

General Design

One way to make routine yardwork easier is to plan out your landscaping so it doesn’t create a maze in your lawn. Mowing around multiple plant beds and mulch piles can be difficult work, so do your best to group your plants together in large mulched areas that leave your lawn fairly open. This way you don’t have to snake your mower around all your blooming bushes.

When you have your planted areas set up, use edging to create clear lines between lawn and flowers. This will give you an easy guide when you’re weed eating and make a nice clean line for mowing. It also helps to make your floral areas look clean and organized when they have a natural end and give way to your grass.

Landscaping can be a great way to beautify your yard and enjoy the sunshine, so use these tips to do it yourself!

Why You Need To Replace Your Air Filters Regularly

When you’re a homeowner, there can be many things to think about and take care of on a regular basis. Because there can be so many things to think about you may not consider your air filters and whether they need changed very often. The reality is, though, that there can be many benefits to making sure that you change them regularly, and find sterile air filters VA if possible. 

It Reduces Allergens

One of the primary benefits of making sure that you replace your air filters regularly is that it can help reduce allergens in your home. If your unit has a filter that is damaged, old or dirty it could be allowing a wide range of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens into your home’s air. Not only can this be bad when you are healthy, but it can be particularly detrimental when there are sick people in your home, or those who have health concerns like allergies or asthma. With clean filters, you can help keep your family comfortable and safe. 

It Can Help Lengthen the Life of Your Unit

Another benefit of changing your filters regularly is that it can help lengthen the life of your unit. When your HVAC unit has a filter that is dirty or damaged, it has to work harder to heat or cool your home properly, which can put undue stress on it. By making sure that your filters are regularly changed, you can help ensure that you are doing your best to protect your unit for years to come. 

It Can Help You Save Money Over Time

Along with lengthening the life of your unit, changing your filters on a regular basis can also help you to save money over time. This is because when your unit is working harder to pump air through an old and dirty filter, it requires more energy, which can mean higher energy bills. While it may not seem like a lot at first, it can add up significantly over time. Beyond that, putting extra stress on your unit can also lead to needing more costly repairs, as well.

Being a homeowner can require you to deal with and work on lots of things around your home on a regular basis. Because of this, your air filter may not always be on your mind. However, making sure that you replace it regularly can be beneficial for you and your family. 

What You Need To Know About a Mail-Away Closing

When you are selling your home but cannot be there to close, it is called a mail-away closing. This process allows the sellers to send all paperwork in the mail and receive their check the next day. This option is very beneficial for people who can’t be in town on the date of the closing and want to get it taken care of.

How It Works

Once you receive the documents from the real estate attorney the clock begins. You need to print all of the paperwork, sign it yourself, and get a notary signature. Once that is complete the documents are scanned back to the attorney to make sure nothing was missed. After you receive approval you then need to mail everything overnight so that the buyers can receive the documents and sign on their end. The process can be stressful but once it is complete within 24 hours there is nothing more that needs to be done. If there is any money that the seller is receiving a check will be mailed within the next couple of days and the transaction is complete. 

Why Communication Matters

There are many people involved in the process of selling your home. You have a real estate agent with who you need to be in contact communication. Most prefer a phone call but it is best to have their emails as well as a backup. There can also be a closing agent who works with your real estate agent. If you are doing a remote closing you will need to communicate with that person on the date and time of closing. Finally, there is the real estate attorney. This person’s job is to get all of the legal paperwork to you and the buyers for signatures. Because this isn’t something people do every day, there are often many questions people have when signing these important documents. It is important that this person helps you out over the phone and makes sure you understand everything perfectly.

Mail-away closings are very helpful to people who cannot physically be there to sign the legal paperwork on selling their home. It can cost the seller more money than a regular closing but is worth the time and money spent to have to fly or drive back on that date. This process is not ideal and if you can be in person for the closing it is the best decision. However, if you can’t be there all it takes is a little extra money and proper attention to the details and you are all set.

Things You Should Know About German Shepherd Dogs

Choosing a dog, whether for a pet or another purpose, is an important decision. You want an animal that has the proper temperament. If you are considering a German Shepherd, you may be concerned about proper breeding. For example, you may be interested in German Shepherd puppies imported from Germany because they have stricter standards. These are some things you should know about this breed.

Personality Characteristics

German Shepherd dogs are highly intelligent. They are often used as working dogs in police stations and in the military and as service animals. They are courageous and confident. These animals are also loyal and protective of their families and handlers.

German Shepherds are also highly adaptable. They won’t typically approach strangers and are very territorial. They aren’t instant friends, but need time to get used to new people in their lives. They are consistently watchful and alert. They are also very affectionate and like to be included in family activities.

Physical Characteristics

German Shepherds weigh 50-90 pounds fully grown, and they will stand 22-26 inches tall at the shoulder. These dogs are very active and need a lot of exercise. Their coats are typically bicolored and can have shades of brown, red, cream, silver, black and white in them. Their ears begin to stand erect as they go through puberty and become adults.

They are known for their head tilts. Their gait is easy, and they are often seen trotting. They require a high level of regular exercise because lack of exercise causes frustration, boredom and behavioral problems, while lots of exercise helps them relieve tension and improves their mental well-being.

Training Opportunities

German Shepherds are easily trained. Agility and herding training meet their physical needs and are mentally challenging, which is important for such a smart animal. Their training should start when they are puppies. Obedience and socialization classes are vital to keep these dogs well-mannered as they grow. Their training should involve positive rewards.

Grooming Requirements

German Shepherds need routine grooming for their medium-length double coat. Their coat has a soft underlayer with dense, rougher outer coat. These animals shed profusely a few times per year, so brushing should be done a few times a week. In addition, their ears should be cleaned regularly. Their nails should be trimmed monthly because they may hurt the dog and cause structural damage to their paws if they are not worn down or cut frequently. Also, these dogs need to be bathed occasionally.

If you are looking for a great family or working dog, consider adopting a German Shepherd.